Vice President for Research and Innovation

San José State University seeks an innovative, entrepreneurial and transformational leader for its inaugural vice president for research and innovation (VPRI). This prominent leadership role provides exciting opportunities for an ambitious and collaborative individual to develop a clear vision and provide leadership to position and grow SJSU's research and innovation enterprise including cultivating a research and innovation culture, expanding strategic research initiatives and partnerships, establishing an office of innovation, and further developing the research infrastructure and administration.

Founded in 1857, San José State University is the oldest public institution of higher education on the West Coast. San José State is located in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley and is the fifth largest of the 23 campuses of the California State University (CSU) system, the largest four-year university system in the United States. As one of the 200 top research universities in the nation, San José State has robust NSF and NIH-funded research programs and one of the highest levels of research funding in the CSU system. San José State also offers rigorous coursework to more than 35,000 undergraduate and graduate students in seven colleges.

Since the arrival of President Mary Papazian in 2016, San José State has experienced a transformational shift in culture and momentum as it seeks to become a pre-eminent urban public university. The tone on campus is one of vibrancy and optimism for the future. With record-breaking enrollment and a renewed commitment to excellence in teaching and research, the campus is poised to grow and innovate, strengthening its connection to the surrounding San José and Silicon Valley community and further fulfilling its social justice mission of access and equity. A new strategic plan will be released in the spring of 2019, laying the groundwork for the next ten years of unparalleled growth.

Reporting directly to President Papazian and joining a collegial and engaged senior leadership team that embraces the university's research aspirations, the inaugural vice president for research and innovation will develop and cultivate a culture and environment where research and innovation can thrive, consistent with the university's mission. The VPRI will understand the transformative role that research can play in the lives of students, opening up the university intellectually and inspiring the faculty and students to engage in creating a productive research environment. Concurrently, this role will grow, develop and strengthen the SJSU infrastructure and organizational structure to support a comprehensive office of research and innovation. The VPRI will engage with the greater Silicon Valley community to promote opportunities for faculty and students as well as coordinate with government agencies, foundations and other partners to proactively identify and promote public and private funding opportunities. The VPRI will also create a hub for innovation to enable and support entrepreneurial activity at SJSU.

The vice president for research and innovation will envision and develop a dynamic and synergistic research and innovation environment that drives the strategic vision of San José State University. The incumbent will have a record of facilitating and supporting research, scholarship and creative works—funded by the public and private sectors—consistent with the expectations of a university engaged in significant graduate and undergraduate education. Additionally, the VPRI will have experience developing and supporting innovation through intellectual property creation, technology transfer, commercialization and related activities as well as experience in securing and managing sponsored research programs. SJSU’s first VPRI will possess a superb ability to collaborate and bring investigators together to conceptualize and develop large-scale, multidisciplinary research initiatives and translate them into compelling funding opportunities, experience building cohesive, high performing teams and exceptional interpersonal and relationship-building skills with multiple and diverse constituencies.

Inquiries, nominations and applications are invited. Review of applications will continue until the position is filled. For fullest consideration, applicant materials should be received by February 15, 2019. Candidates should provide, as three separate documents, a curriculum vitae, a letter of application and a list of five references. References will not be contacted without prior permission. These materials should be submitted to the candidate portal by clicking here.

Inquiries, nominations and questions may be directed to the Witt/Kieffer consultants supporting this search, Zachary A. Smith, Ph.D., Suzanne Teer and Jen Meyers Pickard, Ph.D., at A comprehensive leadership profile can be found at

SJSU is an Equal Opportunity Affirmative Action employer. We consider qualified applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, age, gender, gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, genetic information, medical condition, marital status, veteran status, or disability.

It is the policy of SJSU to provide reasonable accommodations for applicants with disabilities who self-disclose.